GST and electricity bill all set to go up say economists

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An economist from CIMB, Song Seng Wun, predicted that it is only a matter of time before Singapore’s Goods and Services Tax (GST) will go up. he was speaking at the Economic Society of Singapore’s Panel Discussion Forum on post-Singapore Budget 2017 on Feb. 23, 2017.

Today reported the economist as saying:

“I think the fact that we are finally charging a bit more for water after 17 years reflects that somebody forgot it hasn’t been done yet.”
“The fact is that the GST was raised 10 years ago and water tax was (raised) 17 years ago.”

GST was first introduced in Singapore on 1 Apr 94, and was set at 3 percent. In 2003, it was increased to 4 percent and then 5 percent in 2004. The last increase was in 2007 to 7 percent.

The panelist at the forum suggested that any increase in GST will help in Singapore’s social expenditure, which has been on the rise since 2012.

Economists have also predicted that the carbon tax introduced by the Finance Minister at the last Budget session was expected to lead to higher electricity prices.

The Straits Times reporting on the new tax quoted economists as saying that it will push up costs for power generators and translate into higher electricity prices for consumers, companies.

“Another key issue with a carbon tax is that it impacts low-income households more, said Professor Euston Quah, who heads the department of economics at Nanyang Technological University. “(But) this can be mitigated through subsidies and lump-sum transfers to the poor,” he noted.”

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